Five Predictions for the Orange Bowl

By Michael Citro on December 29, 2013 at 10:30a
Hyde - another 100+ yards?

In just five days, Urban Meyer will lead his Buckeyes onto the field in South Florida to face the Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl.

Many have predicted a shootout between two teams with supremely talented quarterbacks, star-studded offenses and less-than-stellar defenses. The expectation is that the scoreboard will light up like the sky on the fourth of July. Personally, I think the defenses will rise to the occasion a little bit after hearing all the talk and we may get a winning team barely into the 40s with the other team in the mid to high 30s, instead of the 63-60 type of game some are expecting.

Both teams have had several weeks of preparation, practice, film study and fine tuning. This may give the defenses time to unlock the secrets of the opposing offense. A savvy coach might spot a “tell” that gives his team an advantage, creating a key turnover. Weeks of self-scouting might lead a team to add something unexpected.

Which team will benefit most? Will either team step out of character or will both simply reinforce their strengths? What new wrinkles can we expect?

The following are my five predictions for the 2014 Orange Bowl. These are 100% guaranteed to be entirely possible.

The Unexpected

Both teams will try to pull a fast one. Each will likely pull something from deep in the playbook that we’ve either not seen or have been used sparingly. They may not be flea flickers or double passes, although that’s certainly possible.

With Clemson, you may see a reverse or perhaps a pass from someone other than Tajh Boyd — and Boyd may be the ultimate recipient. With Ohio State it might be something along the lines of a jump pass in a short yardage situation, or a throwback to the tight end.

Whatever the form the unexpected play takes, each team will gamble that they can create an explosion play when the time comes. They will likely be dictated by favorable field position. They also have the potential to backfire spectacularly.

Personally, I’d love to pull out a Jordan Hall halfback pass. He’s done it before, albeit not under Meyer.

Roll Hyde

It probably isn’t going too far out on a limb to predict a 100-yard effort for Carlos Hyde. However, it might be, if the prediction is that he won’t surpass the number by a great deal, as he has done often in recent games. Clemson has shown an ability to bottle up star running backs like Boston College’s Andre Williams.

Which Braxton Miller will we see Friday night?Miller will have something to prove in the Orange Bowl.

Still, I think Hyde gets the century mark, but possibly tops out at around 110 or 115 yards, rather than nearing the 200-yard plateau. I think the Tigers will sell out to stop the run, gambling that Braxton Miller’s recent struggles will continue under the lights with the nation watching.

While I don’t expect Clemson to be entirely successful with this strategy due to Ohio State fielding one of the nation’s best offensive lines, I believe the other part of the equation will be due to…

The Buckeyes will Throw Early

Ohio State had a lot of success early in the year by throwing to the wide areas to get extra defenders away from the box. In recent games, that strategy has gone away, largely due to an injury to Philly Brown.

With several weeks to rest, Brown should be sufficiently healed and back on his game. Philly has been Miller’s security blanket and Ohio State’s most productive route runner and pass catcher. I expect Tom Herman to get Brown involved in the passing game early to set up Hyde and Miller runs later in the game.

Michael Bennett Goes Wild

Like Brown, Bennett has battled the injury bug, but his has been a chronic condition. At times it seems to limit his explosiveness and power. This in turn affects his effectiveness. Bennett should enter the game feeling good and he should become a disruptive force for the Buckeyes.

If Clemson has to commit more resources to stopping Bennett, it’s a great sign for Ohio State. It would allow Noah Spence, Joey Bosa, Tommy Schutt, Joel Hale and Adolphus Washington to operate more freely. And Ryan Shazier would likely face less opposition on blitzes if Bennett is occupying a second blocker.

Miller Rises to the Occasion

Despite the struggles of the last five games, nearly a month of working on mechanics and timing will set Braxton up for success. Provided the offensive line gives him sufficient time to go through his progressions, I expect Miller’s completion rate to reach at least 60% against the Tiger defense.

Clemson’s back seven has been susceptible to good quarterbacks this year. Miller is a competitive guy who isn’t blind to his own struggles over the last four games. He’ll want to silence critics, impress NFL scouts…oh, and win the game. With a healthier Brown, a large dose of self-scouting, and ample time honing mechanics prior to the game, I think the Miller we’ll see will more closely resemble the one from the first half of the Big Ten season than the last four contests.


Comments Show All Comments

nm_buck's picture

Heuermann will be a factor, and I wouldn't mind seeing Johnston run the ball on a fake punt.

"The future is bright at Ohio State."  - Urban Meyer 1/1/15

osu07asu10's picture

I like Heuerman being a factor. I think Citro is spot on when he says a throwback to the TE, or the TE leaking out off the line and going completely unnoticed.
After seeing Johnston not so great fake against NW, I'm ok with him launching 60 yard bombs down the field with his leg.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

Zimmy07's picture

With him being a former rugby player, I'm surprised we haven't already seen that this year.

saltybuck61's picture

They have done a designed run for the punter at least once this year. The one I remember was unsuccessful.

TatumRuled's picture

Heuermann can certainly catch and run. I just hope he blocks better.

"Hell, Woody didn't recruit me; he recruited my mother!" -Jack Tatum                       

Michael Citro's picture

In fairness, Heuerman has been a stud blocker all season. Missing that fourth down block against Sparty doesn't undo all the outstanding work he did all year. Without his work, Ohio State doesn't have two 1,000-yard rushers this year.

osu07asu10's picture

Agreed. He has (and Vannett to a lesser degree) been a huge cog in the offense's success this season.
Yes, it was a bad block on his part but Denicos Allen is no slouch.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

Knarcisi's picture

I want to see some young up and comers get significant playing time. Bell, Burrows, Apple. I also would like to see more from Trey Johnson. I honestly don't think Josh Perry is the answer at OLB. He continues to show he can't even play off of his primary read, which is the TE. We also replace 4 OL. Wild like to see some time for Elfien, Boren, Baldwin, and others. 

IGotAWoody's picture

I think Josh Perry has been solid this year. I think he made a good leap in production and effectiveness from the previous season. Doesn't mean he's perfect, or not capable of a bad play here or there, but he's been very consistent this year. I expect to see Josh Perry making a lot of plays in this game.

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers

Bucks43201's picture

Perry needs to improve his lateral speed.

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

Knarcisi's picture

More than that, his reads, and reactions to his reads. Time and time again, his key and coverage responsibility, the TE, crossed his face into a pass pattern, and he was 3 steps down the line of scrimmage on the dive fake. 

RBuck's picture

I sincerely doubt Urban will burn Apple's redshirt.

Long live the southend.

labuck's picture

No redshirts will be burnt in the bowl game.  Also, it wold be supremely d*ckish of Urban to bench any of his senior lineman to get those other guys playing time.  It does no good for the team or for the future of Ohio State football.

Knarcisi's picture

Getting some of the 2nd string linemen 2 or 3 series would not be dickish and would be good for the future of Ohio State football. 

NitroBuck's picture

Only if the Buckeyes have a commanding lead.  Let's take care of the business at hand before thinking about PT for next year's starters.

Ferio.  Tego.

Hasbro's picture

I hope I'm wrong, but your comments on the defense are wishful thinking, at best.

GrayDay's picture

Offense will get theirs, it's the defense I'm worried about.  Wish I had some reason to believe they could defend a pass.  So does anyone have a thought on why we could be hopeful now?  My only hope is that our pass game gets on track early and that enables us to control the ball for much of the game.  Still seems like we'll need 50ish to win this one.

Poison nuts's picture

So does anyone have a thought on why we could be hopeful now?

Because the pass D fianlly cost them a game & a shot at a NC. The need for change finally became a dire reality. I believe wholeheartedly that there will be improvements. There has to be. There better be. The talent is there. There is nothing that cleanses the soul (or motivates more) than getting the hell kicked out of you. 

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

MN Buckeye's picture

Michael, There are few guarantees in life, so it is good to know that they still exist.

oregonianbuckeye's picture

Heard Spence didn't make the trip and has 'personal issues to deal with.' Thoughts and prayers are with him. 

lunker76's picture

Hope you are right, but the last 2 games offer little to look forward too. Clemson has a much better offense than either the Um or MSU, and a quarterback who can actually hit his targets. We don't. Hyde is the only bright spot. Like I said, though, hope I am wrong, and you aren't.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I'm worried about the defense, too, but this comment is ridiculous:

Hyde is the only bright spot.

There is no way the Buckeyes are #3 in rushing offense and #7 in total offense if Hyde is the only bright spot. What about the OLmen, the TEs, the blocking of the WRs, Braxton's running ability, etc.?
Btw, Boyd is 7th in passing efficiency; Braxton is 13th. 

lunker76's picture

Of course O line makes it possible for Hyde to do what he does, but the other guys are dependent on Miller, and recently he hasn't been getting them the ball. But again hope I am wrong. Of course if Gardner played our defense weekly he would have gotten invited to New York.

DenBuck's picture

I continue to hope that Herman utilizes some short high % passing routes to get Brax some confidence and keep us out of 2nd and 10 when we throw long and don't hit it. 

Buckeye For Life

Jbucks's picture

ive been wanting that all year, if you want to open a defense up for the run game u have to pass the ball, mostly our passes consist of screens to Philly, Deep to Devin Smith & screens to Hyde... use.the TE in the middle of the field, make their defense adjust to it with the safties then hit Smith over top with a deep pass.

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it-John 1:5 SEC meet Ohio State, Ohio State meet SEC

RufusVonDufus's picture

The amount of realism between the comments on Eleven Warriors vs the chat boards is unreal.  Love Eleven Warriors.


Hovenaut's picture

Awesome layout.
I'm expecting some of the unexpected, along with El Guapo making his presence felt. 
If we get nos. 3-5, I think we're all in for a very good evening next Friday night. 

Buckeyebiddaddy's picture

Hyde needs to get 25 plus carries, that may be our best defense.

Seattle Linga's picture

Agreed Daddy - We need to burn the clock and keep our offense on the field.

2morrow's picture

That strategy against MSU and we are playing on 1/6 in the NC. Hope he gets 30-35.

ITWASME's picture

Gonna make a real wild prediction and say this game turns out just like Nebraska last year

Bamabucknut's picture

I don't think players playing harder on defense is the answer to a dramatically improved defense. The Buckeye defense has been poor for the last three years.I think the problem is the defensive coaches and their play calling. My hope......more changes to occur in defensive coaching personnel.....soon.

bull1214's picture

i think the coaches got away from the pound hyde/miller gameplan against sparty and will learn from it. i expect a good old fashion run,run and run some more gameplan with playaction mixed in

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

11W guys got any info on Spence? 

BoFuquel's picture

Either win this game or you got three bad performances in a row to end the season. Unthinkable.GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

Brandon26841's picture

I think we'll probably see more of the same: Ohio State will get their yards on the ground (250+) with Miller and Hyde. The intermediate / short passing game will continue to be next to non-existent. Clemson's going to put up a good amount of points and yards. 

Crumb's picture

Roll Hyde. Give it to Carlos often. It's an easy recipe for success that we should get back to while we have him.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

harleymanjax's picture

First play of the game, use Braxton's speed! 
Kenny G in the shotgun, put Braxton out wide one on one with the DB and let him burn him deep!
Urban..........make it so!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"